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Posted by Admin on November 15, 2014 | Comment

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Elections form the backbone of democracy wherein people elect their political representatives and decide the composition of the government. Holding free and fair elections on a state and national level is integral to upholding the principles of democratic set up in India. From parliamentary elections to the presidential polls, India goes through the electoral process at regular intervals.

Types and Procedures of Elections in India

Apart from the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act of 1952 and the Representation of the People Act of 1951, elections are conducted as per the provisions of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. It’s interesting to note how each election has its unique set of requirements and how meticulously these requirements are met.

Lok Sabha Elections

After every five years, the entire country gears up to decide their representatives in the Lower House of Parliament. For Lok Sabha elections (or General Elections), the country is split into different constituencies, and the winner is elected from each constituency.  As per Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, the power of superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of elections is vested with the Election Commission of India. In its efforts to ensure smooth conduct of the mammoth electoral exercise, the commission is assisted by two Deputy Election Commissioners, who are appointed from the national civil services.

Rajya Sabha Elections

Unlike Lok Sabha, the members of Rajya Sabha are not directly elected by the electorates. The elections to the Upper House of the Parliament happen through the Legislative Assembly of each state by using the single transferable vote system.  Out of the maximum strength of 250 members, 238 are elected by the legislative assemblies and 12 are nominated by the President of India. The representatives of states and Union Territories in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation. With one-third of its members retiring every two years, the elections to Rajya Sabha happen at respective intervals.

State Legislature Elections

Elections to the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) are conducted in the same way the Lok Sabha elections are carried out. Electorates consisting of citizens in a state above the age of 18 vote for their state representatives. Each legislative Assembly is formed for a five-year term following which all seats again go to the polls.

The elections to Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishads) replicate the same process as that of Rajya Sabha, wherein the representatives are chosen by the members of the lower house. Besides, the Governor also nominates certain members from the field of art, science, literature, social service and co-operative movement. The elections to these legislative councils are held under the system of proportional representation.

At the state level, the entire electoral process is monitored and supervised by the Election Commission. The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state has the responsibility of ensuring that the polling takes place as per the constitutional provisions. The CEO is helped by a team of supporting staff.

Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections

The President is indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the members of the legislative assemblies of every state and union territory. The presidential election is conducted before the present president’s term gets over.

As per the provision of Article 55 of Indian Constitution, a uniformity has to be maintained in the scale of representation of the different states. Hence, the election of the President is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation and the voting happens through a secret ballot.

The Vice-President is elected by a direct vote of all members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The system of proportional representation is followed and the votes are cast through a secret ballot. It’s the Election Commission that conducts the election to the office of the Vice-President.

WBSG15.11.2014

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